Wednesday, October 7, 2020

Rhonda Wray: Raptor Wrangler by Charon Dunn and Sally Smith (according to their cats)

T.B. Kahuna: a pyramid-shaped cat

 T.B. Kahuna: Hello, this is The Big Kahuna, live from the apartment where I've been trapped with my human ever since March, watching her launch her latest book -- Rhonda Wray: Raptor Wrangler -- in horrific slow motion, because Covid19. It's about to go on another extreme price slashing sale while they finish up the second edition and the audio book, to celebrate the "Second Breakfast" launch (both were supposed to be done by now, but Covid19). 

T.B. Kahuna at #WorldCon 2018 room party

In another universe everything got done on schedule, plus there were lots of conventions and parties and publicity and advance review copies; in this one they're just happy they haven't died of the plague yet, and note they've been getting some good reviews despite everything. Tonight I am conferencing with Princess Naomi while the humans are sleeping, and my first question is: have you got any chicken?

Naomi, companion to Sally Smith

Naomi: No, but if I did I wouldn’t give you any. (looks closer) I might give it to you because of your large intimidating fluffiness, but I’m older than you and skinny so I deserve it more. What I have is a press release from the humans. I don’t think they trusted me to remember everything.

T.B. Kahuna: The endless struggle. 

Naomi: Should I just read it? 

T.B. Kahuna: I had some pork belly the other day. I might even like that better than chicken. Sure, go ahead. 

Naomi: Very well. “Rhonda Wray: Raptor Wrangler” is a collaborative novel by Sally Smith and Charon Dunn. 


Naomi: They met in the comments section of File 770 and then they ended up getting together at #Baycon to hang out. After Sally edited Charon’s epic Sonny Knight trilogy, they decided to work together on a standalone science fiction adventure story.”

Charon Dunn (with Strat) and Sally Smith (with flask)

T.B. Kahuna: I helped write the Sonny Knight trilogy. She didn’t really give me any credit. She did give me some of the cake with the book cover decoration, and it had whipped cream frosting. 

T.B. Kahuna, forced to shill for the Sonny Knight trilogy

Naomi: Pardon me, I didn’t mean to talk while you were interrupting. And yes, that was very good frosting. “Charon wanted to write about a girl adventurer going from zero to hero. And about dinosaurs, and boy bands, two things that have fascinated her for at least half a century. Sally wanted to make sure the science was tight and that the hero was truly heroic. They both undertook some serious #dinosaur research and many of their surprising findings are incorporated into the book.

For instance, raptors had feathers. There's a little controversy over whether tyrannosaurids did, but raptors are basically birds with fangs, and they probably acted a lot more like crows or parrots than a pack of wolves. Which means they could probably communicate." 


T.B. Kahuna: [gnaws on plastic stegosaurus] Do you think dinosaurs tasted like chicken? According to this book, they probably did.

Naomi: “Charon says she was going for a wilderness survival feel for most of the first part of the book, which is about Rhonda surviving by her wits as she hikes through dinosaur territory. Then things change direction as she meets some other characters, including members of her favorite boy band, Park Picnic. The authors also did extensive research into boy bands for this novel.”

T.B. Kahuna: They threw in a science fictional plot element about what if raptors had #syrinxes, and could sing like birds. Which inspired them to study language and musical patterns involving boy bands delivering mating calls to their fans. This research caused both of them to develop a serious addiction to #K-Pop. Subwoofers, all day and all night. Boom boom boom. We should send them to rehab if you ask me. 


Naomi: I’ve gotten really good at pretending I am deaf, and K-Pop helps. My human developed a lurid fascination with an ensemble known as #MonstaX.


T.B. Kahuna: Mine has been hanging #Taemin posters all over the walls.


Naomi: “Rhonda Wray: Raptor Wrangler has earned several good reviews so far, as Charon and Sally struggle to discover the meaning of public relations in a postCovid19 world. So they're keeping the price low, and since the novel is about a Black girl but neither of the authors are Black, we are evening it up by giving 10% of our proceeds to #BlackGirlsCode. Because we want to live in a world full of nerdy Black girls like Rhonda, with nobody giving them grief over it.” Oh, wait, Charon scribbled something in the margins. Can you read her handwriting?

T.B. Kahuna: It says she also wants to live in a world full of super-capable amputees, gay dudes with massive leadership skills, and sexy Asian romantic leads. And that she has found profound tranquility into helping shape a world she would like to live in, rather than focusing on the present state of things. 

T.B. Kahuna: Don’t forget the trigger warning. 

Naomi: Ooh, I see there’s also a content warning here, noting that Rhonda Wray: Raptor Wrangler contains all kinds of gore and violence. In a PG-13 sense rather than an R sense, but still. 

T.B. Kahuna: Well duh, it’s about dinosaurs. Not the Barney and Baby Bop kind. I was sort of disappointed by the lack of sex scenes, personally. 

Naomi: I’m surprised you’d think about things like that, given that you’re neutered. 

T.B. Kahuna: I think it’s all the Taemin posters. 

Naomi: This conference is over. 

I am disgusted and must sit in my box now. Chicken may help.



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